Interpreting…

Reading too much into it all?

I have a title – really what I think, interpreting my recent travel. And put beneath it a sub-title: reading too much into it. Whatever… I live my life by convictions…. correction, my level of integrity is related to living my life by my convictions, so the title is the title, and the sub-title is a possibility that I have to be open to but cannot live my life by. (My ability to waffle does seem to be pretty powerful.)

I am in the UK for 2 days. An early start yesterday to catch a flight. I had an alarm set for 4:40 but woke at 2:20. What does one do? I rolled on to one side, closed my eyes… no, that is not working… other side… no. So there it was. But in truth it had been a week more or less like that, somehow the air had been ‘thick’. It did mean I was well in time to catch my flight.

Plane left on time (Alicante to Gatwick). It landed ahead of schedule. Taxied toward the gates. The stopped… eventually the pilot coming on speaker – there is a plane occupying our gate, once it leaves we will pull in. Well, for whatever reason the other plane did not depart. Pilot – we will make our way to a new gate they have assigned us. Taxied. Stopped. Eventually pilot says – there is a problem with (and I think he said) the navigation system on the gate to bring us in; once they have fixed we will dock in a short while. Waited… they did not get it fixed!

So eventually they use the steps that are built into the plane itself and there we are now with a walk and back entry to the airport. I proceed with my one carry on bag, nothing to pick up on the luggage belt, so move as quickly as possible as I have a train to catch (on my way to a funeral – more later on that). I get to passport and there is no line. I am it, so right through.

I go to the train – only a 100 metre walk. Buy my ticket. Ah yes, the voice of the announcer. Sorry the train is delayed, we are in process of forming the train! (I presumed that this was not a ‘we have just put in an order with the manufacturer’.)

So now the train is late. Then comes the announcer. The train for Reading (my train and I am getting off at Dorking) has a platform change.

I might have got up early, I might be somewhat sleep deprived (pulling on your sympathy with that comment) but I am noticing a pattern all connected to time.

  • I wake too early…
  • … OK let me be ‘spiritual’ please… the heavens are clear and we are ahead of schedule.
  • I should have been on a train and on my way easily 20-30 minutes after landing, but it was just shy of 2 hours!
  • Cannot dock where we should – it is already occupied.
  • There are alternatives, but we cannot be guided in there.
  • We will make a back door entry.
  • I am not with excess luggage.
  • I am straight in as I have full access and permission.

Ahead of schedule but unable to dock… delays once we land… time and locations are being contested.

Moving forward. I was present for the funeral of Gerald Coates. Someone who was been the biggest influence on my life – partly because my first encounter was when I was 19 years of age and we worked together for some of the subsequent decades.

In my eulogy I recounted a vivid dream he had at the time when he was transitioning from being a postman to that of ‘full time’.

He was driving down a narrow road that was lined by trees. The road ran out, and he came to a big lawn area with beautifully cut, cared for grass. On this lawn were people together, beautifully dressed, engaged with each other; picnics and other activity going on. To his surprise in the dream he did not stop, nor get out of the car to join them but drove across the lawn, disturbed all those people, leaving two big dirty tyre tracks along the way.

The interpretation given by someone in Canterbury was based on understanding two key parts of the imagery. I see ‘people like trees’ and ‘all flesh is as grass’.

You (Gerald) have been on a narrow path shaped by people (men) who have restricted and determined where you will drive (he was Plymouth Brethren by background). But that road has ended. The most beautifully cut, and immaculate grass (humanity) is religious flesh. It has everything in place but is simply flesh. You are destined to disturb all things religious and in the process to leave behind two great huge tyre tracks…

How true that turned out to be. Those of us who knew him could tell stories of his adventures that fulfilled that dream over and over again!

Before going to the funeral I visited the ‘Hub’. An amazing community space in North Leatherhead where I lived with Sue, Ben and Judith. I was very moved while there. One of the initiators in that context showed me around. It was heavy with the presence of God, a space for the community. I felt so strongly that stories are going to be told there, with even events taking place where stories are told. Not all the stories with a ‘Jesus / God’ explicitly in them, but they will be stories about what God is doing, the God who is present everywhere.

Gerald was a story teller.

When Sue and I moved to Leatherhead 13/02/04 – 1 year and a day before she died – I stood on the end of our street to declare – if I live here I have a responsibility and faith that this street will be the healthiest street in all of Leatherhead, and by the roundabout at the end of the street I raised my hands over the street.

The Hub is by that roundabout.

Right toward the end of Sue’s life – she was by then in a hospital so not at home. I have a literal conversation, initiated by the Holy Spirit – I can still remember exactly where I was, what I was facing etc.

If I heal Sue whose story will that be?
Sue’s.
NO.
Ours as a family.
NO.
Wider family, friends… the Christian community
NO.
Whose story then?
It will be the story the community can take. It will belong to no-one but everyone can have it.

So… the Hub by that roundabout (story telling by the community)… Gerald – a storyteller… whose story will it be, it will belong to no-one but everyone can have it…

I visit the HUB then the funeral.

I ended my eulogy after telling the dream with a reference to Hebrews 11. That Gerald though dead still speaks. How? Books, videos etc… but it has to be in and through the lives where a deposit has been made. There has to be those who make two great dirty tyre marks all over the lawns that appear to be in order, but ultimately simply religious flesh. (Jesus dies in Jerusalem so we can live / die in Rome.)

Back to my travels… everything in the sky was ahead of schedule. We arrived early. I was lightly packed – one piece of hand luggage. Passport control – there was literally no-one in front of me. Lightly packed, easy travel, permission to enter… all wonderful.

But it take me all-but 2 hours to get from the plane landing to the train.

First ‘our’ gate is occupied.
Then the next gate there is problem their side and they cannot guide us in. We cannot even dock there and are finally removed down the rickety airplane steps, to make a back entry to the airport.
The train is still being formed so late:
Train being prepared so late:
Then change of platform.

A pattern – heavens clear:
Earth travel where the problems are:

Gates are occupied that stop us docking; we struggle to be guided in… I could go on…

But true story telling…

I see major key here. Religion occupies the gates, that makes for immaculate lawns… Acts 15 – although I am not convinced they got it ‘right – they did a good job, but there was a lot of contention in the gates, religious contention.

So they started by story telling. Not tradition, what should be, how do we keep the right order… Stories.
Stories leave dirty tyre marks.

Abandon the narrow path, aim for the neat lawns, get the revs up and kick up a bit of dirt. I know that in the past days something has shifted in the heavens. As I wrote at the beginning the ‘air’ has been thick for days. Something has shifted. Now we need to engage. There are planes where they should not be, they are in our gate; there are navigation systems that need sorting to guide us where we are to dock; there are trains that should have been formed already; there are platforms assigned. There is to be no more delay. Delay held in place through false wisdom, and through the times we stupidly worm our way in with our own agenda rather than simply throwing our lot in with what God is doing.

What are you saying?

The voice is so important, not simply at an individual human level but at a corporate level.

The beast was given a mouth… (Rev. 13:5)

Two beasts, one rising from the sea and the second from the land (historically Rome across the waters and the Caesar cult worship in the locality) – a pattern that is repeated. In Creation we have heavens, water and land. The process is from heaven through the waters to the land, the water / sea taking on the symbolic representation of that ‘middle area’ that has to be tamed, the place where something can always rise up, hence the startling response to Jesus that ‘even’ the winds and waves obeyed him, leading them to say ‘what kind of human is he?’, and the final coming together of the binary of heaven and earth with that middle space disappearing with the statement that there was ‘no more sea’. The beast is given a voice… this always marks a major element in the advancement of imperial / demonic power, so there will always be the need to ask ‘who is speaking?’ to determine who the voice is representing.

Regardless of where one sits on the ‘open theology’ spectrum there seems to be a principle that certain responses are monitored to see what is in our hearts, and this is certainly true beyond the individual of movements or institutions. I am a big believer that all movements need regular (annual?) exorcisms for there is default pull which is the Babylonian pull.

Here are two thoughts I have.

A movement hits a crisis, and how they deal with it will determine the following years, and in that I am not suggesting it has to be dealt with perfectly – us acting perfectly? I don’t think so!!

Not perfectly but there is something about a dividing line that seems to me to be over ‘self-preservation’. The voice of Babylon is always that of ‘we will survive’, or in the words of scripture,

I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
or know the loss of children (Is. 47:8).

Survival at all costs. Babylon can never go out of existence and will go on for generations to come. There will always come a time in every movement when they will face this issue. If they go down the integrity route they run the risk of defamation and even the end of their existence; so in comes the cover ups, the painting of the situation in a light (light??) that hides what has taken place. Survival is something that God grants, he alone has immortality, and gives it. Survival at all costs starts the path of self-sourced life. God does not disappear (too gracious for that), the stories continue but the real evidence of life slowly dissipates, that real evidence not being what is happening within a movement but through that movement. It is the testimonies beyond the movement that indicate the real impact.

To survive at all costs will be at all costs, costs to individuals and the individual voice. The voice of the corporation becomes mono-toned, unlike the voice of heaven, that voice being the multi-toned diverse sounds of many waters running, causing a sound that has to be leaned into in order that we can actually hear what is being said. The voice of heaven is accessible but not without a leaning into the sound. One does not have to lean to hear the voice of Babylon.

A second aspect that rises is where a movement has a centre and there is a buffer between the centre and those that ask the challenging question. That centre might be a person, or a few inner core, but the effect is the same they cannot really be accessed in order to hear and respond to the perspective that challenges behaviour or direction. Let me call it the ‘Mercury / Hermes principle. Paul and Barnabas arrived at Lystra and the people were impressed so attributed divinity to the two:

Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker (Acts 14:12).

The ‘boss god’ and the interpreter for the god. That interpreter in our world is there to cover the ‘big’ cheeses, to make sure they are never viewed negatively, even to the point of ‘when they said xyz they really should not be understood as saying xyz but it really means…’, or ‘it is wrong to think they are not accessible it is just that they…’ In other words the ‘Hermes / Mercury’ principle is one of interpretation so that they are not directly accessible and they can never be critiqued.

Voices. Voices that self-promote, self-preserve and keep all honest critique at bay. That voice can be tracked back to the ‘beast from the sea’ and if we do we can be sure there will also be a ‘beast rising up in our land’.

Time to calm the waters and the winds. The voice of Jesus, clean, honest, simple, his breath (the wind from his mouth) will settle the waters. The waters are not evil. But they do have to be calmed.

A tentative suggestion

Let’s start with a definite piece of good counsel before anything tentative! ‘Do not fear’. Well that is pretty much good counsel, and though I have not counted them apparently that phraseology comes 365 times in Scripture. Fear is something that is very real and I love the Psalm where David makes two statements:

I trust in God and am not afraid.

The voice of strong faith!!! But he also says in the same Psalm:

when I am afraid I trust in God.

Not so strong, but ever so practical, and put the two together and he has covered his bases.

A short while ago I put out a video of ‘sight for 2022 into 2023’. In it I spoke of global food shortages, and of blights coming to harvests, and also some crisis in and among animals (for the non-vegeterians among us). I have noted today – though I am sure it has been there for some time – headlines about this, and of the cabinet of the USA meeting in September in an unusual call to look at how to respond to what they anticipate as the food crisis that is imminent.

I have repeatedly said that I see this year as being a combination of crises that somehow stack up to present a formidable challenge to global leadership. So my tentative suggestion goes something like this.

Don’t try to plan too much and have everything in vision form for the immediate 1-2 years ahead. If those plans are set they will need a lot of adjustment, with the accompanying likelihood of having to abandon them. Rather look 3-5 years ahead… then adjustments can be made without being de-railed, indeed the adjustments will play out well and enable the 5 years (or so) to align even better.

So no great wisdom in this… We can watch as things unfold: food, dollar crisis, international political handshakes that threaten stability, standoffs in the east etc… we can watch but only to a level that does not breed fear. And the storm will pass, the landscape will be different… be willing to step back from forcing things through – 2 years time what you thought you stood back from will be more accessible, and (guess what) we could be 2 years more mature by then!

No great wisdom in this post but if there is something in it I am sure you will have some sight as to how to navigate.

Tick or talk?

Work while it is day

Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name.

Tick Tock

Time just rhythmically marking repetition
today like yesterday
never was the way it was meant to be

Tick Tock
Can mark what begins… or
signal yet another groundhog day.

Tick Tock
But the people wake up, they begin
to work, to work together, they could even…
converse together.
Talk Talk.

Talk Talk
If they converse, the clock…
The clock? Where has it gone? It can’t be seen
It does not need to be referred to, it recedes
The day is prolonged, could…
the night be postponed?

The conversing people begin to determine
how long the day is.
That was the way it was meant to be.

Talk Talk.

A coming together

Thanks for the comments on some of the previous posts. Knowing some of the people who read those posts I find it interesting that there seems to be those who are on the wilder end of the charismatic scene, those who wonderfully question the sanity of all that goes on in that scene… In other words quite a mix. So I was just wondering, also provoked by the call for the ‘rise of the Annas’ whether this is a sign of what is to come, a way ahead in the big scheme of things.

My background is sectarian (OK I own up). Sectarian is a bad word but if looked at sociologically virtually all protestant (and even more so evangelical) groups are sects (distinguisable from ‘cults’). They share the same big world view that other Christians do, simply they claim to represent it better, more faithfully. It was there in Jesus day, and Paul did well in that world – a Pharisee of the Pharisees! (Head people, anxiety-prone people as well as ‘king of the hill’ people probably find a good home within sects – just thought I would throw that encouragement in there.) Those of us who swapped the sacraments for the proper understanding of the ‘word’ excelled at it. That might be one reason that we love Paul better than we love Mary(!), and probably understand Paul better than he understood himself.

I hope I am less sectarian today than in yesteryear. I realise that the resurrected Jesus spent many a day teaching on the kingdom of God, and did not seem to cover it very systematically, no instruction seemed to be left as to how to handle an influx of unclean Gentiles, for example. The kingdom of God will come when we get our notes all stacked up just right… or maybe, when we stumble along, with a good dose of humility, defences down, and discover that outside our sectarian boxes are people on the same journey… and maybe we become a little surprised when we recognise that they too seem to have that same travelling companion, the one called Jesus of Nazareth.

Simeon. Thank God for the Simeons. Waiting, holding space. And amazingly he could see in a baby what he had been waiting for. That takes faith and maturity. Then passes in peace. A season over.

Anna. A season opening. It is hard to know (the English translations make a go of what is not too clear) what her timeline was, but we know that (culturally) she has been separated from her support, her protection. She has been sidelined, but had found a place in God in it all. She does not look to depart, in spite of her age. She looks for the outlet. Simeon spoke to God and within the family. Anna pushes it all out, out to whoever was looking for God’s intervention.

The rise of the Anna’s (never know if that should be Annas or Anna’s??). She speaks of the child. In our day what a disaster is on our hands, once we look beyond the four walls – whether they be the four walls of our week-by-week, or the four walls of our personal security. We look and need not some ‘redemption of Jerusalem’ but of the planet. Every day I take hope in the Incarnation and the resurrection. Easter took place in Jerusalem for the world. The Jews celebrate Passover with ‘we were in Egypt… next year Jerusalem’; we celebrate with ‘we were in Jerusalem… next year the world’. Yes we were there – when he died we died. Past tense. Visit Jerusalem should you wish… I prefer to follow Paul into Abraham’s inheritance, the promised world.

Worst scenario seems to me that God plunges into this great mess and the parousia takes place. After all it was at the ‘fullness of times’ the Incarnation took place; not the best of times, but when there was no hope for the world. That worst of scenarios is pretty good, but to be honest I would be disappointed. Can we not do better, after all the first ‘fullness of times’ was pre-cross. We are post-cross, and I don’t think we understand Paul (and the NT) better than he did when I suggest that because ‘he stripped all powers and made an open show of them’ and rose with ‘all authority in heaven and earth’ something globally, universally and forever actually changed in every sphere, heavenly and earthly on that day when he rose. So I would love for there to be something more. That there is hope in this ‘fullness’. Hope for the climate, the planet, justice in economies, maybe something that we might liken to ‘God is in their midst’, at least at some tangible level.

And the more I think is happening. No need to lose faith as a charismatic. More words of knowledge, healings, crazy miracles, angelic visitations, demonic confrontations, trips off to heaven (but keep them pretty quiet). I am so convinced of that. No need to make everyone else in our image, of insisting that we have the one and only inside track on what it is to be faithful to the revelation of God in Jesus. Just a question to myself. Do I think the God revealed in Jesus loved this planet? Could s/he be revealed in a tree-hugger. (Just questions to myself. No I am not replacing the Incarnation with a tree-hugger; but I think I also should not replace the Incarnation with a ‘bury my head in the sands and shout louder in tongues’ either. And I am much more in one camp than the other, though quite like trees!)

God is big. BIG. BIG. Present in all kinds of places and with all kinds of people

No need to change my beliefs. Wow… no reason to!! That would be crazy. Not simply because the world view I find in that book makes SENSE, but my experiences line up also. The convictions have been worked in me for good reason. But maybe I need to also walk with many new companions. I have a lot to learn from… and I have a witness to bring, a witness of the resurrection; as someone said to me recently to evangelise all I need is the right knowledge, to witness I need to both reflect on what I have seen and be a reflection of what I have seen. Anna saw something in that child and spoke… Simeon a sign of what was ending, Anna a sign of what was coming, and has been coming ever since. That trajectory continues.

I have my convictions of the parousia but could well be wrong (I won’t be the first person who combed the Scriptures and got that part wrong!! They managed that quite well also in Jesus’s own day!). The trajectory though seems to be OK and sure. God coming… and certainly resurrection in there, Simeon, Anna, Judas (pretty sure on that), my parents, Sue. Yes all those who have gone before. Are they all coming when we need the biggest bail out ever, or could it be different? Annas – we call. Whatever happens that day will herald a party beyond a party. A ‘fullness of times’.

Here we are – 2022

In this video link I am making my contribution to a ‘where are we’. When COVID kicked in I, as per many others, saw it as signifying a reboot. I also said that although there would be a measure of post-COVID that 2022 would be much more troublesome. Little did I know that we would be looking at a full scale war where the map of Europe is being re-drawn, and the desire to see a nation obliterated. This was recently released by the Patriarchate of the Moscow Russian Orthodox Church:

You are a Russian Warrior. Your duty is to defend the Fatherland from Ukrainian nationalists. Your task is to wipe the Ukrainian nation off the face of the earth. Your enemy is an ideology causing sinful damage to human soul.

The main sight I had on 2022 was that there would be a series of events, probably containable if there was only one of them but cumulatively they would cause immense problems as they both followed one another and came together. I see this spilling over into 2023.

In the video I seek to give the sight I have, but want to emphasise that at the beginning of this year I saw a series of doors before us (I saw ‘four’) and that we could go through whichever we wished and the other side we would find that God was there waiting. Those opportunities might be huge, or we might consider them small (after all the small act of the 2 coins made a huge contribution the ‘end of the age’ in AD70). Large or small is not the important element. We might have (physical, relational, geographical) limitations on us but a very distinct before and an after. Opportunities are here. We look for them amidst neighbours, colleagues. We are all carriers of that reconciliation spirit that comes through the reconciling of the world to God through the cross.

Interpreting what we see is always a challenge – expectation often cocks up our interpretation. Back in 2010 I wrote contributing to a book on what do we see for the decade. In there I put that the dollar would no longer be the currency of international exchange. It still technically is… though I suspect that before the end of the past decade that was already shifting, things were already in motion. (Not trying to justify myself…) the fig tree died when? When it was visibly dead or when Jesus spoke the word? Sometimes what we see is something that is set in motion, and we assume it is completed. It might have started but behind the scenes, invisibly. A number of years ago I had a word that a woman who had not been able to conceive would have a child that year, but although not able to conceive had had a miscarriage. It was the first Sunday in January. I prayed for her. [I will make a note below on such ‘words’.] In April she saw me and told me she had not conceived. My response – this is not your problem, this is mine. I took it seriously. All kinds of ‘words’ like that should be rarely given… and never are they to be carried by the one that they are given to. They have to be carried by the giver and with full accountability. (What happened to all the words about Y2K bug and how we were to prepare for it, complete with planes falling out of the sky… more words were given than apologies, and discovery of why they were so wrong.) We have too much wishful thinking, a ‘what would I say / do if I were God’ is totally inadequate as a way to think – it presupposes we understand God. That is a journey of a lifetime… and beyond a lifetime. In prayer the Lord said to me ‘do not call this a child when it is in the arms’. That is not the normal outcome of ‘you will have a child’ (read scripture to see what is consistently normal). Christmas eve she was confirmed as with child. My point is we understand so little, we quickly make assumptions and of we run, and sadly the assumptions are normally centred around either (or both) personal and national blessing. The continual focus on issues national that sees God’s favour on a particular land in a (semi-)covenantal nature is a far bigger issue than on getting predictions wrong. There are enough predictions that do not come to pass in scripture to make that a minor issue, but in a covenantal nation (the ONLY covenantal nation) they were clear enough that even a holy Temple could not save them! Focusing on the national and personal is certainly legitimate when God speaks, but outside of that we are forever in danger of releasing expectations that are based on a pre-resurrection perspective!

Here then is the video:

Four waves released

Back in February I had a couple of intense weeks thrust upon me. I initially understood this to be for a particular situation, but with the crisis in Ukraine, I now believe it is something global. Below is an image that more or less represents what I saw and sought to push back on. Four waves of attack, each one building on the one that went before. When wave 1 was established it released wave 2 (wave 1 continuing). When I encountered this wave 3 (‘worm’!) was not fully established so wave 4 was not yet released – for this reason I am holding out that we will not see nuclear nor chemical warfare in Ukraine, though the destruction already there is abhorrent. I have a video link where I seek to explain what I experienced.

Colonising…

Time for a post that is a little bit ‘out there’ but one I am convinced about.

Colonisation of gift can only take place when two elements come together, a system / pre-set agenda to be served at all costs without question and a servant who is involved who is very willing.

A few days ago I suddenly had this flash of revelation… angels can be colonised. Someone comes from an angelic encounter and then arrives at a situation with that revelation, they then release the revelation that there is an ‘angel who is bringing xxx’. Good news as this just fits what we need is the response. Now there seems to be a couple of possible responses. The one that will maximise the outcome will be that of responding with an entry into a ‘dance’ (OMG… am I going ‘eastern’?) between those involved and the angelic. Such a dance will be that ‘we’ (humans) will need to adjust our steps, learn some new movements, suspend the pre-set agenda as that will be about to change; OR…

Given that angels serve – ministering / serving spirits – the dance is not entered into but what the angel(ic) brings is taken and harnessed to serve the pre-set agenda. We cannot assume that the angelic has come for us, to give us xxx, more likely the angelic has come to give the wider situation where we are connected the gift of the xxx. If we enter into this assuming all of this is for us, we will at least hijack what could happen / perhaps at worse colonise the angelic. Not 100% sure on the last suggested possibility. Do they hang around but seriously limited in terms of their affect? Or do simply lose the connection that was on offer?

I have always sensed what needs to be done is a release of what / who is sent from heaven, rather than ‘now we are grateful for help to achieve our dreams (pre-set agenda)’.

To the tree planters

It is said that Martin Luther replied about the imminent return of Jesus that,

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.

Tomorrow is so unknown. Defence budgets in numerous nations have doubled in these past few days. In Europe the average defence budget has been for years around 3%, decades ago they were well into double figures, and in certain times in history have been as high as 70% (and above) of taxation went on ‘defence’. It does not take a mathematician to work out what this means, for once things are doubled, without something that brings about a halt to it, we will have budgets tripled in that direction. We cannot accurately predict if there will be nuclear fall-out, if not by the unleashing of a weapon, with damage to a nuclear plant. Not a bright future.

SOW WHERE WE WANT THE WORLD TO GO.

I have used that phrase in my book(s) when seeking to give some very amateurish advice concerning those who are comfortable with shares / pension funds. Luther’s words at some level get hold of that. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, but I am able to do something today.

Creation cries out, waiting, looking.

Yes I pray what Putin is being sourced from dries up, from the spiritual forces, the imperial fantasy and whatever else is involved. This has to happen. Maybe tomorrow something will happen of that nature. But today, I can sow.

As always I look to the body of Christ. My hope has to be placed there, the ‘significant other’ that God intended to carry on the work that Jesus ‘began to do and to teach’. We have to see the imperial aspirations of Putin (and many other leaders) fall to the ground; I cannot but believe that if only the imperial aspirations of the body of Christ with her insistence of choosing a king, of seeking to extend borders…

The liberating environment of the kingdom of God… liberating to one and all, not simply to those who have come to faith and made it through our discipleship courses. A new world is beckoning. Though there seems to be more than one possibility. The shape and culture of one of them is being sown now, pulling on history, drawing on spiritual wells. The budgets are responding to the expectation of that world. What about the other possibility?

It had to come to this… we stand at a crossroads. There is a huge choice before us. Try and revive what we see as history, draw from that spiritual well, or gladly surrender the Christendom vision. Even if… I would plant a tree, so said Mr Luther.

Anyone got any bread?

Perspectives… that is normally all we have, or as Paul said ‘we see through a glass darkly’. I have been provoked by a number of zooms I have been involved in these past weeks to consider again some aspects of a prophetic word I received in 1999. The actual word is kinda incidental, but it has pushed me to think about Joseph, Egypt and the famine in Canaan. The story you will know well.

The pandemic has been a provocation for many people and deeply challenging. Adjustments will have to be made in many places, but recently I heard a report from a conference that the worry / complaints from the leaders present were that their numbers had gone down, they had ‘lost’ people. That made me think.

The ‘bread’ that has been (mainly) offered and consumed has been on growing the church, evangelism etc. As I wrote concerning the Acts 15 council I consider that there was a shift from a Jewish world view after the New Testament era, to adopting a Hellenistic (neo-Platonic in the main) world-view. Salvation became that of the ‘soul’ being saved so that we are able to go to heaven when we die, with the dear old world being left behind as it was destined to be burned up. I do not think that accords with a Jewish world-view. Meanwhile over centuries the Jewish calling became lost with a shift in meaning as to what the purpose of election was. Thank God for voices such as Jeremiah calling for them to embed in Babylon!

The bread on offer is running out. In Europe it is already diminishing in availability… in Brazil (where I do numerous Zooms) there is still a 15 year – or so – availability, the shelves are and will remain full.

There has to be, though, a realisation that the bread is running out, otherwise there will be severe rationing; the bread will be shared among fewer people.

Now the little twist that has been provoking me.

The bread for the future is in Egypt.

There is some kind of tie here to the post I wrote about Jesus being with the wild animals. The bread is located in the Imperial setting. (For those with discernment, Someone is doing a number on me!)

However, Joseph is problematic. We should not be too harsh on him, and if I read stuff aright here we are with his example and some 3,500+ years later we still seem to peddling the same old model. That model being – the bread will be in Egypt, we have the recipe how to make it and of course it will mean the enslavement of everyone, except for those at the top, for after all we need to be practical. Or in current language, we have to get into the world and get control so that we can change the world, and those of us who follow Jesus can be really happy that our people are at the top and all those ‘Egyptians’ deserve to be enslaved anyway cos they have some really nasty gods. Let’s capture the top 3% now!

After Joseph the Imperial power is stronger than before! All the land belongs to Pharaoh. Bread is provided but… at what cost?

In conclusion then.

Bread is running out. The bread that has been on offer. The new bread is different, it is made from a different recipe. It is – hey, my perspectives – not about individual salvation but about transformation of our world; it is the valuing of one and all; it is the end of hierarchy (one day I need to write about this and the gift of leadership); creation stewarding; signposts to the age to come expressed through the images that art, architecture can show us; the distribution of the ‘soul’ of the world into the world etc…

That bread is running out in Western Europe – hence the complaints about the pandemic from that angle, and the call to get back to ‘normal’. That bread is still in evidence in many parts of the world. (Not just now a perspective, but a total unashamed bias – it is for this reason I believe Europe is pointing the way forward… the way forward is not about church growth, but about being located inside Imperial domination.)

The new bread will only be found in Egypt.

We cannot do a Joseph, but have to be located where Joseph was located. To get there we should keep the complaints about being sold, of false accusation and imprisonment, to a minimum. That is the most likely pathway, as journeying to Egypt for many followers of Jesus will never happen without the help of a little betrayal, and some false accusations…

We cannot do a Joseph and strengthen the Imperial power. The land does not belong to Pharaoh. But to the meek.

Perspectives